Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Tom Hutcheon

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Addiction has long been a divisive aspect of human behavior. Although the study of addiction used to only pertain to classification and treatment of substance abuse disorders, behavioral addictions are now presenting with similar pathology as substance abuse disorders. Research has shown that behavioral addictions and substance abuse disorders express similar decision making impairments, specifically in relation to risk decision making. By using a popular mobile game that has recently been shown to lead to mobile gaming addiction, this current proposal will study the effects of cue-related priming on risk decision making. Rehabilitated substance abusers, pathological gamblers, and internet addicts will be recruited from in-patient treatment centers and asked to complete the Iowa Gambling Task while submitting to Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Experimental group participants will be primed with mobile-gaming prior to the Iowa Gambling Task. This proposal hypothesizes that rehabilitated addicts subjected to mobile-game priming will exhibit addiction-related responses regardless of addiction type in that these participants will perform worse on the Iowa Gambling Task. For neural results, this proposal hypothesizes that primed addicts will express increased amygdala activity and decreased medial pre-frontal cortex activity compared with a non-primed control group. An independent t test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were run using simulated data in order to the effects of addiction on decision making. Predicted results offer insight into the similarities between substance abuse disorders and behavioral addicts in hopes of developing a spectrum of addiction rather than classifying separate addiction types.

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